Dem Hoodstarz' Rapper Charged in Gang Sweep

Categories: Music
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Busted: Dem Hoodstarz

As the Chronicle reported on Sunday, 42 members of a South Bay gang known as "the Taliban" have been arrested following a joint task force raid conducted in 14 Bay Area cities Friday night and Saturday morning.

The suspected Taliban members--who have no religious affiliation, according to police--have been charged with various crimes ranging from homicide to robbery to selling everything from ecstasy and marijuana to guns; $240,000 in cash, automatic weapons, and large quantities of illegal narcotics were reportedly seized during the raids. As the article states, "Among those taken into custody was Dontae Gardner, 32, a member of the rap duo Dem Hoodstarz, who goes by the stage name Scoot Dogg."

Based in East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, Dem Hoodstarz scored a major regional hit with 2005's "Get My Grown Man On," and were among the South Bay's leading proponents of the hyphy movement. Known for their manic energy at live shows, the group has released three albums (Hood Reality, Band-Aide and Scoot, and Black Friday) and collaborated with Traxamillion, Too Short, Mistah FAB, San Quinn, Turf Talk, Big Rich, David Banner and Gucci Mane, among others.

Though a media rep for the group denied Dem Hoodstarz' involvement in any gang activity to the Chron, the chorus of their recent single "Code of the Streets" states, somewhat prophetically, "I'm living that life of a trap star/ man, it ain't nothing like a rap star/ I'm so used to them cop cars/ And everybody I know done been behind bars."

In what may be just an interesting coincidence, exactly two years--to the day--before the raids were announced, a video was posted to YouTube which shows Dem Hoodstarz clowning around with the cast of mopey sitcom "King of Queens." In the clip, a promo for the CW network, Dem Hoodstarz are superimposed into scenes featuring cast members Jerry Stiller and Kevin James as the syrupy beat of "Grown Man" plays in the background. At the end of the clip, James announces, "Bay Area! I'm gettin' hyphy!"

It was not immediately clear whether James understood the term, or what the implications of the actor's past association with Dem Hoodstarz would have on possible future installments in the "Paul Blart" series.

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